My last post was entitled Another Legacy of British Colonialism: Israel and Palestine. I had decided to write this post after having breakfast with my older brother Irving. Both of us were brought up in a very liberal environment. My father was an immigrant from Poland who was very far left in his thinking. As I pointed out in my last post, he was at times very critical of Israel's foreign policy. I told my brother that as with many of my posts that I would try to be informative and balanced in analyzing the Israel/Palestine issue. In my usual style, I brought up historical issues to put into perspective the reason the problem exists today. And I put the blame squarely on British colonialism and its remnants. In that historical perspective, I was critical of many and I backed it up with historical facts.
The criticism included the following:
· British colonialism post world wars.
· American support of British colonialism and exploitation of the Middle East.
· Early Zionist support of German Jewish deportation by means of an economic agreement with Nazi Germany
· Ruthless Arab leaders' alignment with fascism and Germany
· Despotic Arab leaders' aggression to Israel after the U.N. resolution establishing a Jewish state.
· Israel's inhumane treatment of Palestinians during the occupation.
· The hypocrisy of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council concerning human rights violations by Israel.
My brother warned me that the liberal blogs were becoming very anti-Israel and some were so violently critical of Israel that there was a tone of anti-Semitism in that criticism. Since I generally do not read the blogs, I was surprised that liberals and progressives would treat the Israel/Palestine issue in such a shortsighted approach. Most objective people understand that it takes two to make an argument and that an informed group would understand that the Israel/Palestine problem has historical roots where plenty of blame can be shared. And my experience with liberals and progressives is that they view the world in shades of gray as compared to the right wing black and white approach.
But, to my surprise, I got 67 comments from my last post that were mostly hostile to me and the ones that supported my analysis. Many of the other posts I had made got criticism from clearly right wing readers. The difference I observed with this subject had brought out what I thought was unlike my experiences with thoughtful progressives who could disagree rationally with different points of view. And many progressives do criticize Israel for their inhumane treatment of innocent civilians including Jewish progressives. But, in the context of criticism, there has to be some balance about the subject.
The permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France. At this very moment, all five countries are responsible for more civilian deaths and human rights violations than Israel. Furthermore, "freedom loving" Saudi Arabia has one the harshest regimes in the world against its own people. This comes from its founder Ibn Saud who was a Nazi supporter. Unfortunately the U.S. was in need of his oil and FDR gave him free reign in the region as long as he kept providing the West with oil.
I came to the conclusion that the hostile comments about Israel on these liberal blogs are not coming from true liberals. Most of the anti-Semitism comes from racism and most of the racism I have experienced has come from the far right, not the left. And history shows that the Christo-fascist policies of the right have been responsible for historical anti-Judaism. It is only lately that the extreme evangelical groups have conveniently aligned with Israel now to validate their biblical beliefs. These extreme evangelicals were the most anti-Jewish because of the Passion Narratives of the New Testament. And for my friends in AIPAC, they should be aware that short-term alliances with people who have endemic hatred of you could be disastrous. The early Zionists found this out when they signed a trade agreement with Germany hoping that Germany would deport the Jews to Palestine.
To those who believe that Palestine historically belonged to either the Jews or the Arabs I say read my previous post. Palestine and Iraq were all part of the Ottoman Empire and were made up countries by decree. After the First World War, the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire gave us artificial countries such as Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia and neither country exists today. Iraq is still a horrible remnant of artificial combinations of disparate ethnic regions. The fact is that the U.N. as did the League of Nations before set up countries by decree without much foresight and washed their hands of the consequences. Had the U.N. been responsible in 1948, they had the power to make a difference in that region. Unfortunately, they did not.
I have no easy solutions for the Israel/Palestine issue but I will say that one must evaluate which of the combatants benefit from the conflict. And I can easily exclude Israel from that group. After Israel signed the Oslo Accords in 1993 it experienced its greatest economic and technological advancement. Whether or not Israel was wise in rejecting the 2000 proposal that was advanced by Arafat at Camp David is subject to historical evaluation. But, Israel has suffered economically since the last intifada and has no benefit to its people by having perpetual war. On the other hand, the militant Arab leaders have a lot to gain by perpetual war with Israel to divert their people's attention from the harsh treatment of their own citizens. And the armaments industries in the nations comprising the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have lots of reasons to fuel the fires. I suggest seeing the motion picture Lord of War with Nicholas Cage if anyone has any doubts.
So my conclusion is that the bloggers who violently hate Israel and see it in black and white terms are not really liberals. They may even be anti-Semites, but they are not representative of the liberal community that was so active in achieving racial and ethnic equality. It is a contradiction for a true liberal to be an anti-Semite. Furthermore, I would not put it past the right wing to flood the liberal blogs with hateful criticisms of Israel to advance a perception that liberals are anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. And I see Karl Rove's fingerprints all over this.